Keeping up with Technology

Ashley Robertson
5 min readApr 5, 2021

Published: November 14, 2017

If I were to take you back to my decision for getting into Graphic Design it would bring me back to high school. One of the main struggles that we have at that age is figuring out what we want to do with our lives. We were so young and to make that kind of commitment felt detrimental to how successful we would become in the future.

In high school, my main interests were anything that combined creativity and computers. I filled all of my electives up with either film, animation, or digital media classes; and spent my lunch hours on the Yearbook team hanging out in the computer lab. I never really knew what Graphic Design was until one day we had to hand in a “Day of The Life” video project. During this time I was in a bit of a sketching phase. I’ve never been a great illustrator but it was something I did to pass the time and I always kept it to very simple cartoon drawings. My teacher saw this and asked me, “Have you ever thought about Graphic Design?”

Even though I didn’t know what it was, that question was a blessing to my ears. I have always envied people with natural talents and never understood why they wouldn’t pursue something they love doing, especially when they’re already good at it. When my teacher came up with this idea on his own, it gave me a piece of confidence. To me, it meant that he had found something I was good at that I wasn’t aware of. It was this verification that made me feel like I could do it, even without the slightest clue of what it involved. At this point, I wasn’t going to completely dive into it but it was something I knew I would absolutely look into pursuing.

Before I looked into what this whole Graphic Design thing was, I was still brainstorming everything that I liked doing to decide a route I may want to go. The people that I envy, the ones with the natural talent; they are good at what they do because they constantly do it. It was then that I figured out maybe it’s not about what I want to DO but what I want to LEARN. And that, I already knew. I loved learning all of the Adobe Softwares. I taught myself video editing in middle school, moved onto Animation in Grade 9, and then those skills branched out into Photoshop, inDesign, and more. The common factor, the Adobe Suite. I wanted to master it all. All of the tools that were available and all of the creative ways you could use them got me hooked. It was a way to express your creativity. Once you knew one of them, it was a stepping stone for you to learn the next.

I was never really intimidated to move onto a new software because a lot of them have a similar foundation and tools. Once you know the pen tool in Illustrator, you know it in Photoshop. They may not be exactly identical but it definitely gives you a head-start on the learning process.

At the time, I was really into watching kinetic typography videos. I’ve always been a big fan of making music videos; when I sketched, a lot of the time it was to my favourite lyrics; and I though it was a suitable direction for me. I found myself a Graphic Design program that had a “Typography” course and officially signed up. This was my journey to the Art Institute. Sure, I found out “Kinetic Typography” and general “Typography” were 2 different things.* But ultimately, I was happy with my choice.

*Side note: I finally learned some After Effects in my BCIT program.
Accomplishing a goal from 2011 in 2016 still counts, right?

Now, the reason I bring this up is because I know a lot of people can be intimidated by learning the Adobe Suite nowadays. There are so many people with previous experience that you may feel you can never catch up. Similar to people that are interested in Comic Books or Doctor Who but don’t know where to start. You feel like you could really get into it but you don’t want people to know that you’re new at it. Or you’re afraid to make something bad. It wasn’t until now that I’m beginning to feel this way.

I’ve always had the motivation to learn the softwares because they were easy for me to navigate and I feel like people hadn’t really quite mastered them yet. I was a little bit ahead of the learning curve. If you think about it: my parents didn’t have computers in their classroom growing up, which means nobody had experience in these softwares unless they had their own personal computer. And not only that, but they needed their own personal interest in learning it. Which I doubt many people had in the 80's.

It can be more nerve-racking nowadays as people are learning these things everyday in school. I learned basic coding in my high school which felt advanced but now kids are learning it in middle school. The advancement of technology is speeding up and spreading out. Kids are growing up with computers and are getting used to them much quicker. Soon, they may even be able to adapt to technologies faster than those of us with experience. Ever wonder why app developers that make loads of money are so young? Or why the Forbes 30 under 30’s list has so many tech categories? They’re picking it up faster, and figuring out innovative ways to use them.

My Creative Suite subscription from BCIT is officially running out. This means I have to be the grown professional I am and pay for it. While it’s another bill to pay, I’ve also been thinking about the exciting new tools I will be getting. After watching some quick videos on the latest softwares released from the Adobe MAX Conference — I am blown away by the direction everything is going. Though, I’m also worried. I’m worried that I may not be able to catch up to the newest trends, that slowly the Graphic Design industry will become obsolete (as everyone will have access to the tools and an easier interface to work with), or that there will be more competition in the work force.

The idea that keeps me going is that people have overcome similar things in the past. I was watching a video on the Adobe Illustrator Facebook page and it showed the how people used to create back then:

Technology is always evolving so you either have to grow with it or die with it. I hope that I can find some time to put aside to teach myself these new softwares and explore the new world of media as it continues to scale.

How do you guys feel about the vast growth of technology when you work in the field? Is it intimidating to keep up with? Do you think our jobs will be gone in the future or will there always be a way to push the boundary of professional vs. hobbyists? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

If you are interested to learn some of the new applications in the Adobe Suite check out the Keynote Speakers at Adobe Max here:

Or you can find a recap blog post that was very well done by Web Designer Depot: A Quick Guide to Everything You Missed at the Adobe MAX Keynote



Ashley Robertson

A creative who dips her toes in an assortment of mediums. (Usually a medium hot chocolate, but this will do).